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Niu Niu's mother offered me fruit juice, while his father withdrew to the living-room.
Invited to request a piece, I chose an averagely taxing Chopin etude.
With a crew-cut and protruding ears, he is not unlike a cartoon character, yet at a little over 4ft, he takes masterful control of a shiny black monster twice his size.
I took my seat inches away from the grand piano dominating his family's tiny Shanghai apartment.
His parents are currently in discussion with the Royal Festival Hall and New York's Carnegie Hall.
Apprehensive at the responsibility of having a prodigy child, they are cautiously selective, retaining total control over Niu Niu's teaching and practice schedule while being careful not to appear aggressively ambitious, something considered 'not very Chinese'.
On a purely technical level, Niu Niu's talent is staggering.It took him a few days to master Bach's Goldberg Variations.Rachmaninof's gargantuan third concerto he plays to relax.Those unable to reach conservatory level join the growing enthusiasm for piano exams.China has hundreds of piano centres that charge between £5 and £15 a lesson to push children through the grades.